I have known Akemi Tsunagawa for almost a decade. I was always impressed with her ability to just get stuff done, even in an environment that was not conducive to doing so. She is intensely persistent, works extremely hard and is immune to obstacles that may get placed in her way. Akemi is also a persuasive leader…people naturally want to work with her and are inspired by her ideas.
Graduating in 2009 and wanting a job in Investment Banking…at the tail end of the financial crisis, Akemi came back to Japan.
We discussed the big 2011 Tohoku earthquake and how it was indicative of just how surreal the market was back then.
After her first job at Macquarie Securities, she moved on to Fidelity where she ironically explains that the biggest skill she learned was how to make slides…Powerpoint slides.
After leaving Fidelity in the summer of 2015, she travelled in Asia and while the trip was good, it was not as authentically local as she would have liked. Upon reflection after her trip, she realized this was a common problem while traveling that had no good solution.
Bespoke was born…and is now a company that develops AI Chatbots for Airports, Hotels and Train Stations. It already has access to over 50% of the tourists coming to Japan and is expecting to expand internationally by the end of the year.